In order to keep the machinery of city government functioning, the city council on Tuesday evening approved another temporary budget. The $39.91 million temporary budget runs from December through January.
“Most of this temporary appropriation represents salaries for the various departments in the city,” said Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large. Morris, who is the chairman of the council’s finance committee, said the temporary budget covers only the essentials.
Since the fiscal year ended on July 1st, 2014, the city has been funding itself through temporary budgets. July through September the council approved a $54.60 million temporary budget; October through November the council approved another $38.27 million in temporary appropriation; and finally, December through January the council approved $39.91 million in temporary spending on Tuesday.
Temporary appropriations for the first half of fiscal year is expected to be $132.79 million, according to city records. Alex Mendez, councilman at-large, asked what percentage of the introduced budget is the city expected to expend before a final budget is adopted. Business administrator Nellie Pou said the $132.79 million represents 55-percent of the city’s entire budget.
The administration of mayor Jose “Joey” Torres introduced a budget in October seeking appropriations of $252.21 million. During the workshop session of the council, Morris expressed his concerns over much of the budget being exhausted before the council adopts a budget; however, the councilman is hoping a budget will be adopted sooner rather than later. Throughout November, the council has held departmental budget hearings – three more department hearings remain.
After the hearings concludes and the city figures out how much it expects to receive in financial assistance from the state, the Torres administration will compile a finalized budget for submission to the council. Pou said the city is seeking $27 million in aid. During the last fiscal year, the city received $23 million. The business administrator said the city is likely to receive an amount by mid to late December.
Council members approved the temporary budget in a 7-2 vote. Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman, and Julio Tavarez, 5th Ward councilman, voted against the temporary appropriation.